Crossbow Nocks 101 | Types and Considerations for Lighted Crossbow Nocks

Which Lighted Crossbow Nocks to Use


Are you a new crossbow hunter just starting out and looking to learn more about it? Maybe you’ve shot crossbows for years but never stopped to think about the various types of crossbow nocks available to you. Regardless of where you stand, you could probably learn more about the best use of each kind, especially as it relates to lighted crossbow nocks. Below, we’ll discuss why you should use them, how to actually install the nocks, and most importantly, how to operate them.




First, Why Lighted Crossbow Nocks?


Just like bow hunting with a regular compound bow, there are several benefits of using Nock Out® lighted nocks instead of regular crossbow nocks. First, it allows you to see your bolt’s flight path with great visibility, which can help you pinpoint where you hit the animal. This is obviously very useful when hunting in low light situations (which are typically some of the best hunting times). It can be a vital feature when hunting predators (like black bears in the video below) so you are aware of when to safely take up the chase. Seeing your arrow’s flight path in low light when shooting a black bear is really hard, as you can imagine, and following a wounded bear (in the case of a poor shot) in the dark is a bad idea. However, when you can follow the laser-like light trail of your nock, you know exactly where you hit it and can decide how to proceed accordingly.


Also, you can easily find your bolt (made even easier in the dark) when the illuminated nocks are glowing. The red, green, or yellow lighted crossbow nocks from Clean-Shot® Archery really stand out, though you should think about which color is best for when and where you plan to hunt. While it’s nice on your wallet to recover your bolts, broadheads, and nocks from the field, finding your bolt can also tell you more about the shot you made. You can look at the color of the blood and smell the bolt to identify if you hit lungs, liver, or paunch. If you never find your bolt, you leave that all to chance. Check out the amazing bear hunting footage below using the best lighted crossbow nock around.



Types of Crossbow Nocks and Best Uses of Each


There are a few different kinds of crossbow nocks that you can use on crossbow bolts. Be sure to check with your crossbow manufacturer first to see which crossbow nocks are recommended for your model. Most normal crossbow nocks are made from plastic or aluminum. The Nock Out® lighted crossbow nocks from Clean Shot® Archery are made of high impact, polycarbonate material so that the super-bright LED lights are very visible, while still being able to handle high-speed modern crossbows that shoot faster than 350 feet per second (fps). If you were to use normal plastic nocks, these high-speed crossbows can sometimes exert too much pressure and distort or crack the material. While there are also capture nocks and hybrid nocks for crossbows, there are two crossbow nock types offered below by Nock Out®.


Flat Nocks

Flat nocks for crossbows are pretty much exactly like you would imagine. They consist of a flat disc that covers the back end of your arrow/bolt shaft. It is a very basic design that allows the bolt to sit in slightly different alignments without compromising the accuracy of the shot or the structural integrity of the crossbow. The only theoretical risk in using flat nocks is that the string could potentially slip off the end of the nock and you could dry-fire it. But since this risk is extremely minimal (non-existent if you’re careful), flat nocks are one of the most popular designs that have stood the test of time. The flat nock green 3-pack is a great deal for bargain shoppers too.



Half-Moon Nocks

Half-moon crossbow nocks are different from flat nocks in that they have a horizontal groove in them. This groove allows the string to nestle into the lighted crossbow nocks and keep it from moving up or down. For this style of nock to work correctly, you need to mount the half-moon nock so that one of the vanes is directly up or down and the nock groove is horizontal in this position. The orange contender 3-pack (or any of the other colors) will stay indexed to the arrow vanes to shoot consistently.



How to Install and Use Lighted Crossbow Nocks


It’s very easy to install these lighted nocks for crossbow bolts, just like it is for the regular compound bow arrows. Each pack comes with three different sized nock adapter bushings to fit the three most common carbon bolts: small (.285), medium (.297), or large (.300). This practical universal fit makes your life much easier since you don’t have to guess at it or buy multiple types to find the right fit. Simply insert the correct-sized bushing into the shaft, and then press the nock receiver into the bushing. Follow the installation instructions that come with your pack to ensure it is correctly indexed with the vanes. Then you’re ready to roll!


It really couldn’t be easier to use your lighted crossbow nocks. Simply rotate the on/off tab on the activation collar 45 degrees into the Ready to Fire mode. When the bolt is fired in this mode, the sudden pressure from the string will turn the LED lights on. Nock Out® lighted nocks for crossbows come in red and green colors for both types, and yellow only for the half-moon nock. To turn it back off after you retrieve your bolt, simply pull the nock straight back until the light turns off again.



When you’re just practicing, you usually don’t want the LED lights turning on every time as it will waste the battery life. To solve this problem, you can turn the collar 45 degrees and switch the nock into practice mode so the LED lights won’t be activated anymore. If you want to just test it out before a hunt to make sure it works, switch it back to the ready to fire mode and keep it there for your hunt.


If you’re interested in trying some light up nocks for crossbows this season, pick up a pack of whatever color you like and give them a try. Their ease of installation and use make it a no-brainer!


Why Using Lighted Nocks During Practice Matters

Lighted Nocks | Practice with Them for Better Bow Hunting


Feature: Flatline Whitetails


Practice makes perfect, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? Unfortunately, it’s only true to a certain extent. If you practice your archery hunting skills with sloppy form and different hunting gear than you’ll use in the field, you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. But you’ve no doubt heard the adapted version of this phrase too: perfect practice makes perfect. The better and more realistic you are in practice, the better you should be at the real thing. This is why you should be using lighted nocks on your arrows as you practice this spring and summer. But let’s back up a little bit first.


Using the right hunting gear helps ensure that you’re ready for the real field conditions you’ll face. One, it simulates bow hunting on a very real level so you can get in the right mindset from the get-go. The more you get used to this simulation and the conditions, the more comfortable you’ll be in the field. Two, it helps develop muscle memory so that you will be freed up to think about the situation itself, and not worry about the shot mechanics. To that point, you’ll gain confidence in your hunting gear that you could only get from repeated usage of it. Different arrow nocks produce slightly different shots, so it makes sense that using a consistent nock will produce a more consistent and accurate flight path. If you use them from day one of practice, you shouldn’t have to adjust anything later. And finally, using lighted nocks for arrows in the preseason months helps you identify any form or gear issues before it can become a problem. If you start now, you literally have several months to tweak your gear or perfect your form. That’s much better than realizing it the week before opening day, isn’t it?



Why Should You Use Lighted Nocks?


If you don’t already use lighted nocks, you won’t believe what a game changer they are for hunting scenarios. Think about it – some of the best deer hunting action we face takes place in low light conditions (e.g., dawn, dusk, shaded woodlands, foggy/cloudy/rainy days, etc.). But knowing exactly where your arrow hits a deer in these low light hunting conditions is difficult to impossible. Will your knowledge of where it hit the deer in any way change the shot once you’ve released the arrow? Of course not. But it will really help you to know how to proceed from that point. For example, taking up the blood trail within 10 minutes in the case of a true heart or lung shot is fine, but it would be foolish in the case of a known gut shot. Illuminated nocks really help you weigh your options better to ensure you recover your deer.


The Nock Out® lighted nocks come in a few different options and are excellent additions to your archery supplies. The 3 pack is a great deal, as you’ll definitely want more than just one. Everyone has their own best lighted nock color that they prefer, but these ones come in green, yellow, or red colors. They all stand out extremely well when being fired on the back of an arrow through these low light conditions. If you’re not familiar with how they work, the sudden force of the bow string against the lighted nock when it is fired basically switches the powerful LED light on. To turn the light back off, simply pull the nock straight back until it clicks and the light goes off. They are built with bushings to fit the five most common carbon arrow shafts.



How Do Lighted Nocks Help in Practice?


Of course, practicing with these nocks in the preseason does help your archery form in a few ways too.

Taking time now to practice with lighted nocks on your arrows will help you get more confident in your archery equipment. As we said, practicing with the same gear you would use on a hunt helps you to be consistent over time. You can use these lighted nocks on your arrows during practice sessions by simply switching it to practice mode. This specific mode deactivates the LED light to save on battery life, and is turned on by rotating the activation collar. During most of the preseason and for daytime practice sessions, you have no real need to use the nock light. Therefore, you can easily switch to using this practice mode at these times. Though you’d be amazed how much they look like a rocket flying through the air even in daylight!


But once in a while, it helps to turn the practice mode off. Turn the light back on and take a few shots in low light conditions to get the real feel for it. You’ll be amazed at how well the arrow stands out after it’s released from your bow. It practically paints a line of light through the air on its way to the target. On spring and summer evenings, try setting a 3D deer archery target up at various distances in your yard, and dress up in your hunting clothing (yes, even if it’s 80 degrees out). The idea is to make your practice session feel as realistic and true to a hunt as possible. Raise, draw, and fire your bow as quietly, slowly, and stealthily as you can, just like you were in a tree stand or sitting in a ground blind. Then observe your arrow’s flight path, made easy by the bright LED light. Make any adjustments to your bow that you need to based on the first few practice sessions. Once it’s dialed in, continue with at least a weekly habit of dressing in your full hunting gear to repeat these realistic low-light shots. Come next fall, you’ll be amazed at how natural it feels to make them in a pinch.




If you’re not already using light up nocks, you really should be for the reasons listed above. Give them a try and see how it affects your hunting down the road.